Leadership Lesson

Bonus: Chapter 9 – Six Things to Remember While Writing Feedback

Bonus: Chapter 9 – Six Things to Remember While Writing Feedback

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

If you are a manager or a team leader — you are solely responsible for the feedback you are giving your team, both on content and method. So, what is the secret of giving/ writing feedback?

Feedback giving/ writing is both an art and a science. It is an extremely critical component of team building and as much as it is for developing one’s own career. I have condensed the feedback process into six points that can work in any situation. Good feedback will help your team be high on energy and ideas, become extraordinary in execution, and develop a great attitude.

The secret sauce, ironically, is not about the receiver of the feedback. It is about asking yourself (feedback giver) these six vital questions.

1. Am I being specific?

It is incredibly critical to be as specific as you can be. It is easy to get carried away with analogies and incidents related to the point being discussed. Such meandering, however well-intentioned it may be, often leads to dilution of the message. It may even lead to a defensive mindset being triggered for the receiver. State facts and give examples in support of the feedback being given—nothing more, nothing less.

2. Am I showing the way to grow and develop this person?

Your job as a reviewer is to develop and grow people. Pointing to shortcomings does not help in any case. It would work counterproductive as the receiver pulls up the defenses and closes their mind to any suggestions.

3. Can this person do something about this?

Think before if this person can do something about this or help change this behavior? If the answer is not that specific feedback is best left unsaid. Yes, think about it. What is the purpose of feedback on which the person cannot act?

4. Will this add value to this person?

Focus your feedback on its value for the receiver. If your feedback does not add value to the receiver in the current state, resist even saying it. Often, it is for us to offer some advice because it is dear to us and (however well-intentioned) do not think of the value it would add to the other person.

5. Does this represent facts?

Write feedback promptly when the incident is fresh in your mind. Do not let other unrelated incidents influence your feedback. Good managers maintain a small notepad, to jot down incidents when they occur. This small notepad is worth terabytes of data that may be residing in our memory. Maintaining and referring that small notepad, will always bring us back to the facts at hand.

6. Finally, let silence do the heavy lifting.

Silence is a potent tool. Any good negotiator would tell you that people tend to underestimate the power of silence regarding sales and social dynamics in general. “Saying nothing is way more powerful than spoken words” they would vouch. Silence during feedback defines alpha roles and builds the readiness to assimilate, process, and draw on an action plan in the receiver’s mind. You must recognize the five signs that indicate silence is needed

  • Interrupting by talking over someone else
  • Formulating your response while someone is talking
  • Using a break in the conversation to create a distraction to change topics
  • Talking in circles
  • Monopolising airtime

With these six simple steps, you will see yourself a lot more effective and sought after by your team, and people try it out!

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